What is life like when you have direct experience with the Goddess? How does your life change when you are contacted by Isis or Freyja or Artemis? Goddess Encounters explores the world through a mystic's eyes.
I Dreamed a Dream
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream—
Lingering in the golden gleam—
Life, what is it but a dream?
—from “A Boat, Beneath a Sunny Sky” by Lewis Carroll
When I was a child, I had dreams. Lots of them. Run of the mill dreams, fantastical dreams, spy dreams (one of my favorites), and day dreams. There were the flying dreams, dreams where I soared over Egyptian pyramids and thick, darkly lit forests. A few times I had fun zooming around with Peter Pan. And there was one dream where I realized I was dreaming and decided to attempt things that are somewhat more difficult in waking life, such as levitating myself and various objects. While lucidly dreaming, I also decided it would be a cool idea to walk through my wall. It was cool. The grass outside was black-green and barely visible, but the night sky glittered with a few starry jewels, illuminating the tree and slope of the hill in our front yard, where my bedroom faced. I still remember some of these quite clearly and look back with fondness and sometimes yearning, particularly for the flying dreams. A certain few of my dreams, however, have left indelible marks on my life. A certain few have led me to the Goddess.
When I was a little girl, I was what you might call a "natural Pagan." Whether spending my days playing outside or reading inside, I did things a little differently. I gathered various flowers and plants and mashed them up in a self-constructed mortar to see what textures they held and what colors were birthed from their combinations. I reenacted fairy tales, alone and with friends, being especially fascinated by those stories with creatures of legend—mermaids, unicorns, faeries, and elves. Some of the first books I read at an adult level, when my reading quickly surpassed picture books, were about psychism, reincarnation, and astrology. From about the age of 8 or 9, I started devouring information on astrology (and numerology) and began to seriously study the stars. I was also lucky enough to have access to a computer early in life and cherished my time on our Commodore 64. One of the first computer programs I ever owned was astrology software. It let you construct and store charts and contemplate its limited interpretations to your heart’s delight.
I'm not exactly sure how or why I became interested in such esoteric topics so young; I hardly remember a time when I wasn't. They say Neptune and Pisces are the natural rulers of dreaming, mysticism, and fantasy, so in this way, I’m completely within type. (Yes, I’m a Fish, and Neptune falls in my first house.) It all felt so natural to me, and I have never been one prone to doubt when it comes to the validity of my inner knowing and vision. So when I started dreaming of Isis and other Gods, I knew there had to be something there waiting for me.
I first remember being aware of Her when I dreamt of what I now believe to be a previous lifetime in the Temple of Isis at Pompeii. (How did I know where I was? How do you know you’re in your own backyard or childhood home? Visual markers and familiarity… and I just “knew.”) I was resting on a couch, somewhere in the non-public areas of the temple, when I felt the walls shake slightly. The air had become thick, and I jolted up with a start. “It’s another earthquake!” I thought, and proceeded to grab as many sistra and other sacred items as I could carry. I was running, panicking, and I remember feeling that these religious objects were of extreme importance and must be saved. I reached the entrance way and halted between the columns; what I saw horrified me. I took a step out to continue fleeing, but the dream stops there.
Years later, in 9th grade Latin class, I would read about the priests and priestesses of Pompeii who died trying to save their Isian sacred objects during the eruption of Vesuvius. I would be haunted by the photographs in our text of the ash-preserved husks on the temple steps and lining the streets —even their corpses were ghosts. Was one of those long-deserted shells in the pictures me? Of course, there’s no way to know for certain, but looking at the photos always felt like looking into my own, occupied grave.
Despite this somewhat disastrous end to a previous life, threads from it continue to weave themselves around and through my current one. The feelings I have for Isis as my matron Goddess, as my conception of The Goddess, emanate from far back into childhood, farther back perhaps than even this dream. I remember being entranced by hieroglyphics and pictures of ancient Egyptian temples and pyramids during elementary school, when I found a huge coffee table-type book in the school library. I remember reading the dictionary for pleasure and collecting baby name books—not because I wanted to be a “mommy,” but because I was obsessed with word origins, particularly those with Latin and Greek roots. Etymology is still a favorite pastime. I studied Latin and French in middle and high school and became a Classics major in college. My aim was to become an archaeologist and study, in depth and in person, the world I’d experienced in previous lives and in dreams.
Life took some unexpected turns, and I am neither an archaeologist nor have I (yet) made the pilgrimage back to Pompeii. But Isis is a divine and sacred constant, and my devotion to and relationship with Her has only grown throughout the years. I hope to share with you some more of my experiences of Isis as well as other Goddesses, more dreams and visions, ruminations, and divinations here on PaganSquare.
Blessings of the Goddess upon you!
Have you ever experienced a deity in a dream? What about a recollection of a previous life?
Photo of Kalyca for blog by Tolley Photo.
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